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It takes tools, time, love, and a whole lot of hard work to grow a blog, much like growing a garden. Here are some of the resources and tools that are used to create, share, and grow here at Green in Real Life blog. There’s also extra information and handy links for readers who are interested in taking their own adventure into websites, social media, photography, gardening, crafting, and more.

Creating and Sharing our Blog

Green in Real Life - The Early Years

When Green in Real Life first started, it was created and hosted on Google’s free Blogger platform (greeninreallife.blogspot.com) using a free Blogger template that I incrementally customised over the years to suit my needs. As time went on, the blog grew and I wanted more flexibility over formatting and sharing. With some trepidation, I took the big step of changing the entire construct, from branding to platform.  I don’t regret starting with Blogger. It’s a great tool (especially if you learn a little bit of coding) and free is hard to beat as a start-up, but it is painful transitioning. If you dream of growing big, perhaps you’d like to start with bigger boots and grow into them, if your budget allows. 

Green in Real Life - Current Website

When Green in Real Life outgrew its old construct, I decided to make a switch not only to a custom domain, but to rebuild and refresh the entire blog. The blog is currently operating using WordPress via SiteGround (referral link). Their packages made the transition much simpler and smoother than some other options, and I’m already planning to shift my other (unrelated to this blog) domains and websites to their services when time and other commitments allow me to make the swap. 

Blog Resources and Tools

I use a lot (a lot!) of different systems, tools, resources, and equipment to create content for Green in Real Life and share it with our readers and followers.  I talk about why third-party tools are needed and how they work in our Privacy PolicyHere are some of the services we currently use:

Imagery is also a big part of what we share here on the blog and our social media. Wanting to create and share photos was actually one of the reasons why Green in Real Life was first created.  You can read more below about my photography resources, equipment, and software.

Social Media and More

Getting Started on Social Media

If you’re a keen gardener looking for like-minded friends or a photo buff looking for a place to share, social media might be the right fit. It can be a great place to explore and make connections, with or without a blog. For most people, social media requires a lot less time, commitment, and investment than running a dedicated website. Different platforms fit different styles and preferences, so experiment with what works best for you personally. 

Join Green in Real Life on Social Media

If you’re not already following us, I’d love for you to join Green in Real Life on your favourite social media platforms. It’s a great way to stay on top of our latest posts and to catch behind the scenes information and photos. You can find us on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

Fun with Photography

Explore the Blog for Photography Projects and Inspiration

You can find all of the photography related posts in our blog archives under the Photography tag. 

What’s in My Camera Bag (and Beyond)

My camera equipment and software has evolved over the years, but, at present, my go-to is my Canon 5D.  I have a fantastic Manfrotto tripod and basic monopods for mobility.  My gear includes a variety of different lenses, extensions, and other accessories. I sometimes use lenses for specific purposes – e.g. landscape wide angle, wildlife telephoto, etc. Other times, I prefer a broad range zoom as an all-in-one compromise. It’s much easier to travel or hike with  a smaller camera bag and less gear. 

I have a Lowpro Slingshot backpack for outings and hikes. The single strap makes it convenient to flip it to the front and safely access equipment on the fly. I also have a Lowpro Passport Sling, which I use for a more discrete look whilst travelling. I have an ultra discrete Kelly Moore B-Hobo purse style camera bag. It was a gift many years ago and I love it (and it still looks fabulous!).

In addition to learning hands-on, I have a Diploma in Photography and a Cert IV in Digital Design, specialising in digital photography.  I use Adobe Photoshop for any edits and Picasa (yep – I still have a copy) for making quick colleges for the blog.  Within Photoshop, I do most of my editing manually, but I do have a number of actions, both bought and self-recorded to streamline my workflow. 

Don’t Let Equipment Stop You from Having Photography Fun

You don’t need fancy equipment to take nice photos (although admittedly it sometimes helps). I love photography and have both the camera gear and software for other purposes, not specifically for creating this blog. And although I have great equipment, I also love my mobile phone for quick snaps. The cameras in phones these days are getting pretty awesome, too! It’s almost always with me, whereas lugging heavy camera gear is reserved for special outings. My iPhone gets quite a work out on random opportunity shots and I love the quick panoramas. It’s also handy for garden records.

Gardening and Growing

My Gardening and Growing Tools and Resources

Our go-to garden tools, resources, and supplies are always evolving and changing. Here are some of the main tools and resources in current use:

  • Gardening Tools: I have too many to name, but it’s worth paying for quality tools and taking good care. Fiskars, Holman, Gardenia, and Kent and Stow are some of my current favourites.
  • Planting: In addition to all the standard goodies, I’m currently using EverGrow root bags to fit more variety into the garden (and meet our covenant restrictions). So far so good, but I want to give them a few years on trial before posting, so I’ll share a detailed post in the future.
  • Propagating: I use a wide range of propagating supplies and tools, usually experimenting with something a different each season. The glasshouse is, of course, helpful. I buy plants from local nurseries, propagate my own, and both Kings Seeds and Egmont are favourite local suppliers.
  • Glasshouse Growing: Our glasshouse was a kitset construction purchased from Trulux NZ. I’m not going to lie. It was hard work assembling, even with a handy hubby, but it’s very good quality. It’s made to last and the kits are comprehensive instead of a base plus a bijillion add-ons.
  • Soil and Compost: I buy soil, compost, fertilisers, and other amendments from a variety of suppliers, local and online. We have a kit-set wooden three bay compost system and we also have a worm farm. It’s great for creating rich compost and liquid fertiliser. 

Greener Living

My Greener Living Tools and Resources

Unlike some of the technical aspects of this blog, there are no magical resources or life-changing tools to recommend for greener living. Make changes over time as they work for you and your household. Use what you have wisely, replace things with greener options as they wear out, invest in things that will last, and add or upgrade when it make sense for you to make a change for the better.

Every day living for us continues to be a very gradual transition. As things are worn out, they’re replaced by better options, if available and feasible.  We’ve moved a lot over the years, so tools and resources available at different homes and in different council regions have varied.

When we built our current home, we invested in solar panels, used in conjunction with Power Genius to improve our household energy efficiency. Other features, like concrete floors, cross flow ventilation, efficient lighting, and ceiling fans help to reduce our power needs. Some appliances also have smart outlets programmed to draw power during solar generation and/or off-peak hours. Other choices are far more manual, like air drying laundry.  We have a giant rainwater tank and that’s plumbed to non-potable water supplies like outdoor taps, toilets, etc. I also manually collect some additional rainwater in the garden, and plan to add supplementary mini-tanks to the glasshouse if I can find some that fit.

Arts, Crafts, and DIY

My Crafting Tools, Equipment, and Materials

There’s so many crafty things that I love working with, and since I enjoy experimenting/crafting new things, it changes all the time. Here are some of the main tools and resources in my craft stash:

  • Sewing:  I currently use a Elna sewing machine (previous a Brother) and a Brother serger.  I like having cutting options, including a sharp set of scissors reserved for fabric, general purpose scissors, snips for tiny tasks, and a rotary cutter.  Without any doubt, one of my most used craft items is my self-healing cutting mat. I use and abuse it as my work area topper/protector, not just for cutting fabric. Fabric depends on the project and what’s in my stash or on sale. 
  • Needle Felting:  I use a Clover needle felting pen tool and find it very easy to handle. My favourite roving is from Ashford, locally produced here in New Zealand. 
  • Paper Crafts: I don’t make nearly as many paper crafts as I used to in the old days of paper photos and scrapbooking. I’ve  destashed most supplies, but kept a stash of scrapbook paper for use as photo backdrops. It’s an easy, versatile, and inexpensive option for small scale shots, like blog photos. I also kept my Fiskars cutters. They’re great for random paper cutting needs. 
  • Jewellery Making: Over the years, I’ve managed to build up a lot of beads and findings. I recently gave away a giant box to a budding artist and it felt so good!  For storage, I use basic stackable compartmentalised storage containers from the hardware store. For crafting with metal findings, pliers (I like having flat, bent, and round nose), and cutters are essential.
  • General Purpose:  General purpose supplies like pencils, markers, ink, stamps, paint, brushes, and other basic craft supplies have also built up over the years. I’m actively trying to use what I have and keep my craft stash from growing out of control. 
  • Special Purpose: I have a Cricut Explore Air 2 for computer controlled cutting. Hubby also has laser cutting and engraving gear in his workshop that I can tap in to, if needed.
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